Mubadala Tennis: Comeback kid Coric aims to crack top 10 in 2023

The Croatian’s shoulder injury woes kept him out of action for a year


Ashwani Kumar

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Croatia's Borna Coric returns to Russian Andrey Rublev. — AFP
Croatia's Borna Coric returns to Russian Andrey Rublev. — AFP

Published: Fri 16 Dec 2022, 11:50 PM

Borna Coric, who this week won the ‘Comeback Player of the Year’ in the 2022 ATP Awards, is seeking to break into the top 10 rankings in 2023.

The Croatian’s shoulder injury woes kept him out of action for a year. After his surgery in May 2021, he staged a valiant comeback to the court this year becoming the first player to win a Masters 1000 title and an ATP Challenger Tour title in the same season since Mikael Pernfors in 1993. From falling to a low of 278 in rankings, he has finished the season at 26.

But what kept him going strong?

“I really enjoy the competition and being on tour. It is definitely tiring to be on the move the whole year but overall, I really love tennis and truly enjoy competing,” he told Khaleej Times during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Asked about the difficult recovery phase, the 26-year-old underlined that he kept going when the going got tough for him.

“I’d have to attribute my love for this sport as my true motivation to come back. I’ve always looked at it from the perspective of when it’s hard, you need to keep going. Even though I’ve faced injuries, I keep telling myself I need to come back, and I have age on my side. I can easily have at least another ten years of tennis and a great career ahead of me.”

At the ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, he defeated the likes of Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime. He said the feeling of beating top stars was an “amazing” one.

“I feel as though I play my best against them, against the top players. I really enjoy being on court with them, it’s always a great match with a huge crowd and immense support. I’ve always enjoyed the big stage and I believe this is what brings out the best in me. Playing against top tier athletes is very special and I will definitely remember this for the rest of my life.”

Coric has been in Dubai for the past two weeks while preparing for his debut at Mubadala World Tennis Championship. On Friday, he lost a close match against defending champion Andrey Rublev (7-6, 6-4) at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, in Abu Dhabi. Coric will be back in action on Saturday for the fifth-place play-off against Cameron Norrie, who lost the opening match to Tsitsipas (6-1, 6-4).

Coric is eagerly looking forward to 2023 with high hopes of breaking into the top 10 rankings.

“My main goal is to stay healthy and stay on tour. I am also working towards breaking into the Top 10 in the world. I was extremely close to achieving this in 2018 but I wasn’t able to that year. However, I just want to make sure I give my best and if I do so, I’ll definitely sleep well at night whether I make the Top 10 or not.”

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in action against Emma Raducanu. — AFP
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in action against Emma Raducanu. — AFP

In the hotly contested women’s match, World No. 2 Ons Jabeur, the two-time 2022 Grand Slam finalist, defended her MWTC title against 2021 US Open Champion and British No.1 Emma Raducanu, who returned to the court from a wrist injury and put up a spirited fight.


Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-4; Andrey Rublev beat Borna Coric 7-6, 6-4; Ons Jabeur beat Emma Raducanu 5-7, 6-3 [10-8].

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